Father Knows Best

We almost moved to Honduras this summer. And when I say “almost” I mean we were brushing up on our Spanish, looking up plane tickets, finding homes for rent, and emailing folks who lived down there so we could know as much about it as possible.

In my internet searching back in June, I found an English-speaking international Christian school in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, that was looking for a high school English/Drama teacher and a middle school Math teacher. I teach English/Drama at my Christian school in Tampa. And, though his love is teaching Bible to adult learners, Dave has taught middle school math, and he could easily do it again. The school just asks for a two-year commitment. Perfect! A chance for our family to minister overseas together, to experience life in another culture, to improve our Spanish…

As we looked into it, we found it made a lot of sense. Dave is finishing up his dissertation and teaching online for Liberty University – both of which can be done from anywhere – so those weren’t an issue. The school provides housing and a small stipend, and our kids could attend there, so we would have all our needs met. And we’ve lived in Central America (Costa Rica) before, so we have a basic understanding of some of the cultural differences there and a foundation in the language. The more I looked into it, the more perfect it seemed. Right place, right time, right jobs.

We sought counsel from people we respected – pastors, friends, family. All agreed it made sense. “No red flags,” as one pastor commented. No reason not to go.

Woop-Woo! Vamos a Honduras!

Except….Dave didn’t really want to go. I really wanted to go. Dave really wants to teach Bible to adult learners. The reason his teaching middle school Math is in the past tense is because, though he did it well, he did not enjoy it. And though he was willing to go to Honduras, he didn’t share my burning desire to relocate to that particular location. And, ultimately, he is the head of our family. As we prayed about this amazing possibility, we agreed that we should not move simply because it works for me. It has to work for us. 

Sigh.

I was disappointed. What was the point of all that? Why did God let me stumble across that website, anyway? To get excited about something he knew wouldn’t happen? That just seems mean. And so I ranted to God, questioning his wisdom, confused about his purpose.

Two months later, we got the call that my mother-in-law had Stage 4 cancer. A month and a half after that call, Dave was spending a week with her, caring for her while she was in Hospice. A week after that visit, she went home to be with the Lord. We were all able to go to NY for the funeral. Dave was able to stay with his dad for a week afterwards. He will go up again next month. Because he can – his work is entirely online and can be done from anywhere.

I sat in my in-laws’ living room the day before the funeral, looking through pictures of Judy’s life, surrounded by the family she loved so much, and realized we wouldn’t be there had we moved to Honduras. Dave wouldn’t have gotten those precious last days with his mom. Our kids wouldn’t have been able to attend the funeral and spend time as a family grieving with their cousins, aunts and uncles.

God knew all that. He knew what was coming. And so he made sure we stayed right where we were, surrounded by a church family that loves us and helps us, a school that embraced the kids and me as we walk through this loss. He made sure Dave didn’t have a job that tied him down to a specific location. While I was ranting at God for not letting me get what I want, he was lovingly working all things for our good.

I look back now, and I am grateful that God didn’t give me what I wanted. Even though I didn’t see it at the time. It reminds me to trust him more, to hold my plans with an open hand and not a tight fist. He truly knows what is best, even when I don’t see it. And, even in the hard times, I can trust that my Father always knows best.

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